McIlroy oozes class by taking lead

Thu 31 Oct 2013

McIlroy oozes class by taking lead

  • SHARE
Shanghai, October 31: World number six Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland rediscovered his best form when he took the opening round lead with a seven-under-par 65 at the WGC-HSBC Champions on Thursday.
Wales’ Jamie Donaldson and Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez -Castano are two shots back of McIlroy after they returned with matching 67s while American Bubba Watson and Jordan Spieth together with England’s Justin Rose and Tommy Fleetwood are in equal fourth on 68.
While McIlroy, a two-time Major winner, has yet to win this season, he showed he is getting back to his best form with a commanding performance at the Sheshan International Golf Club.
“It's obviously frustrating when you've had a couple of seasons previously where you have had success, and not being able to emulate that. There're times where you definitely get frustrated. I wouldn't say that I was restless in terms of trying to get a win this season, because I think that the best way to approach it is to stay patient and not to force the issue too much,” said the former world number one.
Starting from the back-nine par-four 10th, McIlroy opened with a birdie but gave the shot straight back at the next.
He then stepped up the pace by picking up further gains at the 12th, 14th ,16th and 18th holes to turn in 32.
Another birdie on the first took McIlroy into a share of the lead on five-under before another birdie on the second hole saw him grab the outright lead.
McIlroy then went on to add another birdie on the eighth hole to establish a two-shot advantage at the top.
“I came here yesterday and talked about how I like this golf course and how I felt like it set up well for me. It felt good to be out there and be in control of my golf ball. I gave myself a lot of chances for birdies,” said McIlroy.
After winning in Shanghai last week, Fernandez-Castano is now targeting back-to-back wins in the Chinese city.
He mixed two birdies against a bogey in his outward-nine but birdied four holes in a row starting from the fifth hole on his back nine to remain in contention for another win.
“It has been a good start. I played very, very solid golf tee to green again.  I left myself a lot of birdie chances and minus five to start the tournament is a pretty good result considering the circumstance as it was windy out there and there were some tricky pin positions,” said the Spaniard.
Meanwhile Donaldson also had a round to remember which included a 22-feet putt for eagle on the 16th hole.
“It's always nice to see those putts go into a hole like that.  So it was a good end to the round,” said Donaldson.
“There're so many difficult holes out there. If you miss the fairways in the wrong hole, it makes it very difficult to get anywhere near the green.  So it was just a case of trying to keep it in play, staying patient and taking it from there for me today,” added Donaldson.
Scores after round 1 of the WGC - HSBC Champions being played at the par 72, 7266 Yards Sheshan International Golf Club course (a- denotes amateur):
65 - Rory MCILROY (NIR).
67 - Gonzalo FDEZ-CASTANO (ESP), Jamie DONALDSON (WAL).
68 - Jordan SPIETH (USA), Tommy FLEETWOOD (ENG), Bubba WATSON (USA), Justin ROSE (ENG).
69 - Scott HEND (AUS), Paul CASEY (ENG), Kiradech APHIBARNRAT (THA), Ernie ELS (RSA), Dustin JOHNSON (USA), Graeme MCDOWELL (NIR), Gaganjeet BHULLAR (IND).
70 - Jonas BLIXT (SWE), Martin KAYMER (GER), Ryan MOORE (USA), Ken DUKE (USA), HUANG WenYi (CHN), Jin Jeong (KOR), Kevin STREELMAN (USA), Peter HANSON (SWE), Louis OOSTHUIZEN (RSA), Boo WEEKLEY (USA), Sergio GARCIA (ESP), Luke DONALD (ENG), Darren FICHARDT (RSA).
71 - Derek ERNST (USA), Peter UIHLEIN (USA), Lee WESTWOOD (ENG), Graham DELAET (CAN), Ian POULTER (ENG), Billy HORSCHEL (USA), Chris WOOD (ENG), Hideki MATSUYAMA (JPN), Brian GAY (USA), Phil MICKELSON (USA), Keegan BRADLEY (USA).
72 - Michael HENDRY (NZL), Francesco MOLINARI (ITA), Bill HAAS (USA), Scott PIERCY (USA), David HOWELL (ENG), Jaco VAN ZYL (RSA), Mark BROWN (NZL), John MERRICK (USA), LIANG Wen-chong (CHN), D.A. POINTS (USA), Matteo MANASSERO (ITA), Mikko ILONEN (FIN), LI Hao Tong (CHN).
73 - Jimmy WALKER (USA), Brandt SNEDEKER (USA), Stephen GALLACHER (SCO), Jason DUFNER (USA), Masahiro KAWAMURA (JPN).
74 - Richard STERNE (RSA), Thomas BJORN (DEN), Henrik STENSON (SWE), David LYNN (ENG), WU Ashun (CHN), Rickie FOWLER (USA), Michael THOMPSON (USA).
75 - Brett RUMFORD (AUS), George COETZEE (RSA), Hiroyuki FUJITA (JPN), Miguel Angel JIMENEZ (ESP), Nick WATNEY (USA), Gregory BOURDY (FRA).
76 - HU Mu (CHN), Thongchai JAIDEE (THA).
77 - Daniel POPOVIC (AUS), Bo VAN PELT (USA), Branden GRACE (RSA).
81 - BAEK Seuk-hyun (KOR), Raphael JACQUELIN (FRA), Ryo ISHIKAWA (JPN).
83 - HUANG Ming-Jie (CHN).
Ends.
About the Asian Tour
In 2013, the Asian Tour will celebrate a momentous milestone with its 10th season. As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include Abacus (Official Apparel Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Supplier), Saxo Capital Markets (Official Statistics Partner), Singha Beer (Official Beer), Srixon (Official Ball), Subway (Official Quick Service Restaurant), Starwood Hotels and Resorts (Official Hotels and Resorts) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). The Asian Tour has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Also, visit us at www.asiantour.com, www.facebook.com/asiantourgolf, www.twitter.com/asiantourgolf, www.youtube.com/theasiantour and www.weibo.com/asiantourgolf.